The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch


310. 310

Sprawled out in the sand, Bucky was getting some much needed time with Harper, who was delighted to see her ‘mama’ and be fawned over. The foal burbled and cooed as it sat in the sand beside Bucky, her bright orange mane whipping around in the salty ocean breeze.

“Everything went wrong,” Bucky confessed to his foal, his face pinched with worry.

“Wong,” Harper repeated, looking up her mama and smiling. “Wong. Wong wong wong wong wong,” the foal sang.

Blinking, the sun was entirely too bright for Bucky, but he knew some time spent in the sun was important. He reached out and stroked Harper with his right fetlock, pushing the mass of curls that was her mane out of her eyes. The foal giggled at his touch.

“How are you and Peekaboo getting along?” Bucky asked, treasuring this moment of small talk with Harper.

“Sissy,” Harper announced in a very matter-of-fact voice.

“Yes, Peekaboo is your sister. Very good. All ponies and now even griffons in your tribe are your sisters,” Bucky praised.

Harper turned her head and looked over at the many griffons, who, along with Lugus, were busy securing provisions for the trip. She watched them for a moment, her brow furrowing and her eyes narrowing. “Sissies?” she asked, pointing with one hoof.

“Yes, that is your tribe… Harper, you are going to grow up and you are going to protect them… you’re daddy’s little zapper,” Bucky said in a very foalish foal-talk voice.

“Mama,” Harper corrected, eyeing her mama sternly.

“Yes, fine, you’re mama’s little zapper,” Bucky agreed, nodding his head.

“Birdies,” Harper chirped in a cheerful voice .

“Yes Harper, birdies,” Bucky singsonged, finally letting go of his tension and relaxing.

“Harpy like birdies,” Harper announced, putting together a sentence, her eyes crossing in concentration and her ears splaying out sideways. “Peekaboo birdy?”

“Peekaboo is sort of a birdy… she’s a pegasus,” Bucky answered, feeling very proud that Harper was starting to ask such important questions about the world around her.

The foal carefully considered her father’s words, her ears rotating and pinning back against her head, vanishing into the vast nebulae of her springy curly mane. “Burpy birdy… miss Burpy.”

“Aw, Harper you’re adorable when you miss your other mothers,” Bucky crooned. “And she certainly is Burpy.”

“Sand,” Harper blurted out, poking the sand beneath her.

“Yes, this is sand. Mama loves sand, because mama can make glass from sand,” Bucky replied, trying to teach Harper something new.

“Mama… ass… sand!” Harper chirped.

“Glass,” Bucky corrected.

“Ass!” Harper repeated.

“Eh, close enough,” Bucky reluctantly agreed.



Sentinel stared out at the dozens and dozens of eyes staring at him, eyes of all different colours. He had trouble making out the emotions on the faces staring at him, as they all had beaks, hard beaks that did not move, frown, or smile. All of them had crests of different shapes and sizes, and almost all of them had their crests raised.

“Ripple… I’m freaking out,” Sentinel whispered to his sister.

“Sentinel… don’t freak out,” Ripple said reassuringly.

“Ripple, you want to know the best way to make a pony who is freaking out freak out? You tell them not to freak out,” Sentinel hissed.

“Oh hush you big baby,” Ripple retorted, lightly slapping Sentinel with her wing.

“I don’t know what you want from me,” Sentinel said in a loud clear voice, addressing the crowd. “Did I do something wrong?”

“You brought fish to the weak and the wounded,” a griffoness said, a tiny griffoness smaller than Sentinel.

“My father wanted me to look after you,” Sentinel responded.

“Usually, for us, we servants, we are left to fend for ourselves, and those not strong enough to survive are picked off… you cared for those of us who could not care for themselves our prince,” another griffon said, averting his gaze slightly when Sentinel turned to look at him. “The weak are usually left to die because they become a detriment.”

“That ends!” Sentinel shouted. “All of you are to stick together and look after one another. And my father and I will look after you as best as we can. Be kind to one another… look after one another… your numbers are too few now.”

“We little griffons have always looked after one another… it is how we have survived,” a little griffoness said in a clarion voice. “But the big ones only look after themselves… most of them. You were very kind to look after us… kind like Tannis who risked his father’s wrath.”

“Tanner is dead… my father made Tanner drink his own crown,” Sentinel announced.

“So what happens with us now?” a griffon questioned.

“Now… now…” Sentinel stammered, unsure what to say.

“Now we take you home, we go back to Equestria and you get to live a peaceful sheltered life,” Ripple said in a loud commanding voice, lifting her head high as she addressed the griffons. “There is a vast wood called the Everfree. You will be able to hunt there if you so desire. Eat nothing that talks!”

“We are not really hunters,” one of the griffons said, a bony looking male whose wing was in a sling. “We are not of the hunter caste.”

“But surely you can hunt,” Ripple replied, looking at the wounded griffon.

“We are expected to work, to labour, not to hunt,” the wounded griffon said to Ripple, looking at her for a moment before averting his gaze.

“That ends now,” Sentinel announced. “You are free.”

“But we want to be servants… we just want worthy masters!” a griffoness shouted. “We wish to be provided for while we do what we do best. You don’t ask a hunter to make a beautiful mural… you don’t ask a warrior to craft a bell. Hunters cannot paint a portrait. Warriors do not create fine watches filled with perfect tiny cogs and delicate machinery. And a master craftsbirdy cannot perfect their craft if they are forced to hunt or do things not related to their craft… this is why we need masters. We must have masters if we are to be good artists. Our needs must be provided for in exchange for what we do.”

“We can hunt if we have to, but we want our work appreciated. There is no shame in being a servant to a worthy master,” a griffon added.

“We want our lives to have meaning and for our crafts to have value,” a griffoness demanded in an angry voice. “For too long we have been treated as slave labour that can be eaten when it is convenient!”

“That has come to an end,” Sentinel said, trying to reassure the crowd. He looked over at Ripple and raised his eyebrow. “I am not sure I understand what is going on,” he whispered to his sister.

“We just want a say in our own lives, to express our opinions without being killed for it,” a griffon explained. “It feels nice to assemble and gather, to address our prince and not fear for our lives… we just want to speak with you. We want our needs known but we are very frightened and we don’t know what is going to become of us.”

“You have nothing to fear from me,” Sentinel replied, lifting his head as high as he could. “You can make watches?” he asked, the oddest bits of information sticking in his brain as he tried to take in the situation.

“We have a few clockmakers and watchmakers in our ranks,” a griffoness answered. “Most of them were abducted and taken to Huginn.”

“Any brewers?” Ripple asked, looking out over the crowd. She saw a few raised talons and smiled. “Well I have good news… this family makes its fortune from brewing and alcohol. Barley will be very happy to see you, and your king, Bucky, my father, he is known for making beer. It is what his destiny mark ordained him to do.”

“Enough rest,” Sentinel announced. “More fish are required. If you want to eat, we need more fish caught. I don’t think we have nearly enough for the trip. I will take all of your concerns to my father and speak to him about your desires.”



Floating off of the coast of Muninn, Bucky stood on the deck of The Scorned Mare and heaved a sigh. Beside him was Twilight Sparkle and Lyra Heartstrings. Bucky looked first at Lyra, then Twilight Sparkle, and then he looked up the sky, knowing what he must do.

“What if the griffons still come back here and try to survive the winter?” Lyra asked.

“It is possible that they might try to hole up in one of the castles and then survive by fishing… the winter might actually work out to their advantage, protecting them from their neighbours,” Twilight reasoned.

“I suppose some griffons might be foolish or stubborn enough to do that,” Bucky admitted, shaking his head sadly. “Desperation would only increase their need for predation, and they would continue to hunt in surrounding lands.”

The Lord of Winter moved to the rail and looked down at the soiled sea. He touched the water with his mind, extending his will, bringing the chill of death to the water. The sea began to roil beneath The Scorned Mare, churning and foaming, and a freezing wind gusted against the ship, causing all those on deck to shiver.

Twilight, sensing what Bucky was doing, feeling the weave and the flow of his magic, offered aid, her magic blending seamlessly with his own. Their time working together on the train had impacted her profoundly, and she found she could magically connect with Bucky in a way that she could with no other unicorn or alicorn.

“Woah, something big is happening,” Lyra said in a frightened voice as she moved to peer over the rail at the water down below. The sea was turning into massive chunks of ice, which pulled themselves together.

As Lyra watched, two massive figures crawled out of the ocean, both made of ice, each one over a hundred feet tall. They climbed the cliff, coming ashore on Muninn island, and both of the large figures turned around to look up at The Scorned Mare. They were bipedal, large, two giant ice golems.

“Deliver ruin upon those castles… protect this land. Allow no griffons to return. Scare them away if you can, kill those who resist. Your service is done when winter ends,” Bucky commanded in a loud imperious voice.

The two giant golems nodded in acknowledgement and then stomped off to destroy what little bit was left of Huginn and Muninn. Bucky watched them go, Twilight Sparkle beside him, and after a moment of silent reflection, he turned his gaze skyward.

From his horn came a beam of blue light. It rose into the sky, and a massive glowing snowflake appeared. It flashed for a moment, a nearly blinding flash, and Twilight Sparkle was forced to avert her eyes for a moment.

Clouds began to gather and the temperature started to drop.

“How long?” Twilight asked.

“As long as it takes,” Bucky replied.

“How long do you think it will be?” Twilight asked again.

“Hundreds of years,” Bucky answered sadly. “It will take several generations of endless winter before the ground is clean and ready for life again. The storm will end when the season passes, and the earth is ready for spring.”

In the distance, a tower crumbled over as one of the massive golems punched Muninn castle, shattering a wall and dislodging the tower. The other golem was crossing the bridge to deal with what remained of Huginn castle.

“What about the treasuries?” Twilight asked. “Gold. Wealth. Riches…”

“Who cares? I don’t,” Bucky responded as the first flakes of snow began to fall, large fluffy flakes that were shockingly white given the amount of pollution in the air. “I have what I consider valuable now… who cares about anything else.”

“The griffons mean that much to you?” Twilight inquired, shaking snowflakes from her muzzle.

“More than I could ever hope to explain in words… Twilight, we failed them,” Bucky responded. “And now, I am going to spend the rest of my life making it up to them and giving back what was taken from them.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” Twilight murmured, shaking even more snowflakes out of her mane as the snow came down thick and heavy now. “I mean, things ended badly, but we saved Equestria.”

“We didn’t save Griffonholm,” Bucky answered, turning away from Twilight and heading off to the navigation cabin.



Bucky began the hunt for the rest of the griffon fleet. He studied the map carefully, looking at the vast illusionary projection, zooming in and studying the topography of the surrounding land, and taking into account the direction Twilight Sparkle had seen more ships come from. The Scorned Mare drifted through the rapidly growing blizzard as Bucky took the ship east.

Griffonholm was a large country, most of it was mountainous, with the exceptions of the lands near the coasts. To the north were pony lands, pony lands under constant threat of war or invasion from the griffons, as well as the llama homeland. To the east was Donksylvania, the homeland of the donkeys, now gone and part of Griffonholm. Donksylvania was mostly low mountains and many lush alpine valleys fed by melting snows from the jagged peaks all around them.

Following his gut instinct, Bucky plotted a course for Donksylvania, thinking a valley would be a perfect place to hide a military installation. Activating the controls with his magic, he changed the map to show the real terrain of the ground beneath him as he flew overhead so he could look for clues.

They were out of the ruined city and soaring over the ruined countryside. Bucky took note of the clearly abandoned settlements dotting the map, ruined hulks of buildings, roads, canals that no longer contained water, and, much to his surprise, a rather well maintained railroad that snaked through the land and off to the mountains in the east.

Impatient, wishing for this to end, Bucky goosed the throttle and urged his ship onwards, hoping to root out the hidden griffon threat so the world would be a little safer.

Studying the map, he noticed that the Donksylvania was bordered by a diamond dog kingdom. Feeling a crushing sense of sadness, Bucky realised that the poor donkeys never stood much of a chance of long term survival being trapped between two hostile neighbours.

Bucky slowly recalled Agnetha’s words the day of the tour… the day before the dreadful night… Griffonholm was getting food and water from the diamond dogs.

“...This wealth allows us to secure water and food from the diamond dog kingdom off to the east.”

Cursing, Bucky hoped that he wasn’t going to have to create an international incident as he began to realise there still might be a considerable threat to deal with off to the east.



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